Poland becomes the first NATO country to send fighter jets to Ukraine

Oleg V. Belyakov - AirTeamImages, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons
Lewis Chesworth 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

Poland has announced that they will be supplying Ukraine with some of their own fighter jets. The fighter jets being supplied will be Mikoyan Mig 29 aircraft and the country plans to give away a minimum of 4 with the possibility for more.

This transfer of aircraft from Poland to Ukraine marks the first delivery of new jets to the war-stricken country and the first by a NATO member country.

Ukraine has for a long time since the war began asked for additional fighter jets in order to uphold air superiority and it seems finally their wish has come true.

Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda has said his country will deliver the jets to Ukraine in the coming days.

In addition, neighboring and fellow NATO member country, Slovakia has also said they are likely to begin sending their own aircraft to Ukraine in the coming weeks.

No help from the US or Western European countries yet


Despite Ukraine asking for additional aircraft from other NATO countries (most notably the US) very frequently, no other NATO countries have taken up the opportunity just yet.

Ukraine has repeatedly asked the US to send them F-16 Fighting Falcons, however the Biden Administration has subsequently turned down the request each time.

The reason behind this is training would take too long and the process would be too complicated to carry out whilst the country is at war.

Although considering this, in early February it was revealed that the UK would begin training Ukrainian pilots on “NATO standard jets”.

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In more detail, this means RAF Valley in Angelsey, Northwest Wales will now open on Saturdays in order to train these pilots on the BAe Systems Hawk T.2, the UK’s primary jet fighter trainer.

Furthermore, British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has requested to the British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, to see which aircraft the UK could send to Ukraine, should they need to.

Poland leads the way


Ukraine Air Force Sukhoi SU-27 P1M
Ukraine Air Force Sukhoi SU-27 P1M at RAF Fairford (Photo: Thomas Saunders/AviationSource)

With Poland marking the first country to supply aircraft to Ukraine, it seems that Ukraine’s asking is finally yielding a result.

In addition, Poland makes a great first country as well, because both Ukraine and Poland have flown the MIG 29 for decades now, meaning Pilots will be ready to fly them with no additional training.

This idea of additional training is mostly the reason why other NATO countries haven’t immediately jumped at the idea of giving Ukraine aircraft, simply because there are significant differences between Western built fighters and Soviet built fighters.

However what does spark some interest is Slovakia’s interest in sending jets to the country in the coming weeks.

This is because the country flies the F16 as their primary and only fighter having retired their older soviet jets in recent years.

Despite this, if the transfer of Slovakian F16s does prove a success it may become the turning point for other NATO countries such as the US and UK to begin sending a handful of their own western built fighters.

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